Title: Projected changes in wind speed and its energy potential in China using a high‐resolution regional climate model
Journal: Wind Energy
Abstract: Following its commitment to Paris Agreement in 2015, China has started to explore potential renewable energy solutions with low carbon emissions to mitigate global warming. Though wind energy is one of the most cost‐effective solutions and has been favored for climate policy development around the world, its high sensitivity to climate change raises some critical issues for the long‐term effectiveness in providing sustainable energy supply. Particularly, how wind speed and its energy potential in China will change in the context of global warming is still not well understood. In this paper, we simulate the near‐surface wind speed over China using the PRECIS regional climate modeling system under different RCP emission scenarios for assessing the possible changes in wind speed and wind energy availability over China throughout the 21st century. Overall, the PRECIS model can reasonably reproduce the mesoscale climatological near‐surface wind speed and directions as documented in reanalysis data across most regions of China, while some local discrepancies are reported in the southwestern regions. In the future, the annual mean wind speed would be decreasing in most regions of China, except for a slightly increase in the southeast. The expected changes in wind speed are characterized with different amplitudes and rates under different RCP emission scenarios. The changes in the spatial distribution of wind speed seem to be sensitive for RCP climate emission scenarios, especially in the late 21st century. The spatiotemporal changes in wind energy potential exhibit a similar behavior to those in near‐surface wind speed, but the magnitudes of these changes are larger. In general, the wind power density is expected to increase by over 5% in winter in the major wind fields in China (ie, Northwest, Northcentral and Northeast), while significant decreases (by about 6% on average) are projected for other seasons (ie, spring, summer and autumn). By contrast, the wind energy potential in the northeast would increase over most months in the year, especially in winter and summer. The results of this research are of great importance for understanding where and to what extent the wind energy can be utilized to contribute renewable energy system development in China in support of its long‐term climate change mitigation commitment.